Indian medical education is said to have the most structured curriculum. For this reason, studying MBBS in India is still the first choice of Indian students who wish to become a doctor. Admissions to Indian medical colleges are based on the merit of NEET examination.
NEET-NEET is a common entrance test incorporated for all students who want to take admission to medical colleges for MBBS study. The test was incorporated to judge the potential of the student to study medicine. Prior to NEET, AIPMT was conducted in India for admissions to medical and dental programs. The states also conducted their own entrance examinations.
It was in the year 2013 when the Medical Council of India felt the need to conduct a common entrance exam for all students and NEET was introduced in India.
But it did not happen in 2014 & 20015 as the Supreme Court had put a stay on the examination because of the petitions received saying that the Medical Council of India can not interfere in the admission process. In 2016, NEET was conducted again but twice a year as the two phases of AIMPT. The first phase was conducted in the month of May while the second phase was conducted in the month of July. Starting 2017 onwards, NEET completely replaced the AIPMT and the state level examinations. Only 2 medical entrance examinations remain operational- AIIMS MBBS exam and the JIPMER MBBS exams for the admissions to the respective institutes. Until this year, NEET was only for those who wanted to study MBBS in India.
Starting February 2018, NEET was made compulsory for all Indian medical aspirants whether they wish to study MBBS in India or MBBS abroad. Again the matter moved to courts and based on the petitions received, an exemption was given to the students for that particular year. The students were allowed to take admission to medicine course abroad before the results of NEET 2019 were declared. Finally, in 2019, NEET was made mandatory for all students willing to take admissions to medical, dental and AYUSH programs. Only a NEET qualified student is entitled to MBBS admission whether he/she opts to study in India or abroad.
Until 2018, conducting NEET was the responsibility of the Central Board of Secondary Education till NTA came into being. In 2019, this responsibility was taken over by National Testing Agency, a government body that was formed especially for conducting entrance and recruitment examinations. The first NEET conducted by NTA was in 2019 for the admission to undergraduate medical examinations.
To date, NEET is conducted on the paper-pen/ offline mode through a lot of requests are being received for making it an online examination. NEET is conducted only once a year. The examination is based on the MCQ pattern to be completed in OMR format. NEET consists of 180 questions with a total of 720 marks based on Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Every correct answer brings you 4 marks while 1 mark is deducted for every incorrect answer.
The examination duration is 3 hours and conducted at different centres in the country. The examination at present is conducted in 11 different languages.
Since NEET is made mandatory for all Indian medical aspirants, starting 2019 onwards, it was mandatory for those too who wanted to study MBBS abroad. This means, now only a NEET qualified student can study MBBS whether in India or in abroad.
Admissions in India are based on the merit of NEET. While admissions to MBBS abroad can be done for a student who is just NEET qualified. However, some countries do give benefits to students scoring excellent marks in NEET. MBBS in China offers scholarship to students scoring 200 and above in NEET.